Our friends at Maine’s KahBang Festival, which features film and local arts in addition to local and national music, are celebrating their fifth year. This year’s lineup is their biggest yet, featuring Dr. Dog, Earl Sweatshirt, 12th Planet, Paper Diamond, Lights, Lucius, and The Weeks, plus OurStage members/favorites Lady Lamb the Beekeeper, The Bynars, Gentlemen Hall, Mean Creek, Biscuits & Gravy, and Late Cambrian, who first won the opportunity to be at the 2011 edition of KahBang here on OurStage.
The festival will be held, as usual, in Bangor, Maine, and will run from August 8th to the 11th. Check out KahBang.com for more information.
Lady Lamb the Beekeeper is this week’s OurStage Pro Artist of the Week. You may remember her (a.k.a. Aly Spaltro) from such exclusive recording sessions as OurStage’s Songs of the Revolution or from such MTV Needle in the Haystack spotlights as this one.
OurStage Songs of the Revolution session:
The music of Lady Lamb the Beekeeper is, in quick summary, impactful, melodic, abstract, often stark, and drenched in alluring imagery. Usually armed only with her instrument (which can vary) and confident voice, Spaltro commands the attention of any audience.
In the three years since her first feature on OurStage, the initially impressive Maine to Brooklyn transplant has grown even further as a songwriter and performer, and has gained a growing swell of well-deserved national attention. This week, she releases her new LP for Ba Da Bing! Records, Ripely Pine.
In contrast with her prior releases, which were often home demos marked by sonic and stylistic experimentation, Ripely Pine is beautifully recorded “ perhaps as close to ˜slick’ as she, or we, would want the music to be. The spare nature of Lady Lamb’s music is essential to its force “ her voice is the driver and the focus. Yet somehow Spaltro and producer Nadim Issa manage to create a soft atmosphere around her plaintive vocals and un-adorned guitar that make it all feel quite lush. Between the ambient noise, layered vocals, and well-tamed reverb, songs like Little Brother are as potent and fulfilling as though they were fully orchestrated. Conversely, Mezzanine features significant string and woodwind parts, yet strikes as hard as any punk song.
New to the table are full-band songs like Bird Balloon, which swings in an Elliott Smith/Heatmiser kind of way, with a very Smiths-esque melodic turn in one section (since we’re doling out comparisons) and a very pretty break-down bridge. Yes, it veers pretty wildly, and that is one of the hallmarks of the record, and one of Spaltro’s unique talents “ she is quite an arranger. While some songs remain simple, they rarely have easily classifiable verse-chorus-bridge parts, and the more complicated songs are built with parts that are more like movements.
Ripely Pine is bizarre and beautiful, the fully realized sound of a musical thinker whose output could be described as joyous, despite its often melancholy imagery and its frankly pained and raw delivery. It is simply a thrill to listen to music so unpredictable and in love with music itself.
More like this:
Hey, this is Scott, producer of the Songs Of The Revolution series for OurStage.
Just about one year ago, we sputtered forward with an idea we had. We wanted to bring to you, the loyal OurStager, a taste of the vibrant live music circuit we’re lucky to be a part of here in New England. We wanted to capture unique live performances from the talented and generous artists we are so lucky to work with, in an atmosphere more intimate than you might find even in a small rock club. By the end of 2011, we had captured some fantastic performances. And since we relaunched in 2012, we’ve gotten into a groove with a lot of really stellar musical moments.
And it keeps getting better. Every two weeks, we publish a new session, with free, exclusive audio downloads and streaming video (some of those early sessions were filmed on nothing but a flip cam or, in desperate times, an iPhone, and now we’ve grown to multi-camera shoots with all the bells and whistles).
But it’s always, always about the music around here. So I’ve compiled a few audio selections from the past year in this newfangled “Podcast” format that all the kids are raving about. Personally, I think they’re on drugs. You can tell by their eyes.
At your leisure, please take a listen to these songs, accompanied by some powerful, compelling, Morgan Freeman-esque narration by yours truly.
Songs of the Revolution is the product of OurStage’s belief that music, when it finds the right ears, can change everything. We’re bringing a message to the masses, arming citizens with a galvanizing soundtrack of the industry’s most revolutionary acts. This week’s SoundTrax is packed full of exclusive tracks from the OurStage Songs Of The Revolution recording sessions. These buzz-worthy artists touring in the Boston area took some time to perform a few originals in a way never been heard before. We’ve put together a playlist of some of the original recordings of these songs so you can see how they’re remodeling the industry with their unique sounds and styles. Kick back and relax as these acoustic renditions help you float on into a warm weekend with the soothing sounds of acoustic guitar and authentic vocals, then rock out to them in a whole new light that’s changing the way we see music.
In 1776, the world changed forever when two forces”one, the most powerful army in the world, and the other, a roughshod militia with no formal training”faced each other across a quiet meadow in Lexington, MA.
Now, from that same corner of the world, OurStage is firing a new salvo. Songs of the Revolution is the product of our belief that music, when it finds the right ears, can change everything. So, like Paul Revere, we’re bringing a message to the masses, swiftly and furiously arming our citizen warriors with a galvanizing soundtrack.
Your favorite bands touring in the Boston area will record a live session with OurStage producer and Community Manager Skot. One to three songs, one to three takes, live and unplugged. Watch videos of the sessions on YouTube, check out behind the scenes photos, and download the recordings for free.
Listen to and download sessions from Never Shout Never, Tim Blane, Lady Lamb the Beekeeper, You Am I, and The Hollow Sound now. Become a fan of Songs of the Revolution here on OurStage to get updates whenever a new session is added right on your OurStage newsfeed, or submit your email to receive updates straight to your inbox.
We bet Paul Revere wished he had an iPod for times like these.
With so many great festivals going on this summer, we understand it can be tough to decide which ones to shell out the cash for. If only there were a way to hit up one of the summer’s hottest festivals without breaking the bank. Lucky for you, we’ve got that covered!
Judge in the Kickoff to KahBang Competition by July 26th and you and a friend could win passes to the KahBang Festival in Bangor, Maine on August 12th and 13th. Jam out to the fiercest indie and hip hop acts including My Morning Jacket, Grace Potter & The Nocturnals, Lupe Fiasco, Atmosphere, Lady Lamb The Beekeeper and more. Who would’ve thought getting your hands on free passes could be this easy? Judge now.
In just a few short days the South By Southwest Music and Film Interactive Conference and Festival will be kicking off, and while, for us, this signifies the launch of festival season (whooopiiieeee) it also marks some very exciting milestones for independent artists everywhere. SXSW showcases hundreds upon hundreds of artists every year, and has become a worthy credential in the careers of both established and up-and-coming artists. If you’re heading down to Austin next week, be sure to show some love to the many OurStage acts that will be performing, many of which have been featured on the OurStage Magazine in the last year. Gosh, we just can’t get over our taste-making skills.
Thursday March 17th
Geographer – Indie rock drenched in reverb, electronics and introspection, Geographer should have no trouble fitting into the SXSW scene. Read about them here and check out their 8pm set at Maggie Mae’s Rooftop.
Andrew Belle – OurStage hearthrob Andrew Belle’s debut full-length album The Ladder was released last year to critical acclaim and has been featured on the OurStage Magazine and Best Of charts for months. Catch him at 10pm at The Tap Room At Six.
Or, The Whale – We could tell you about how Or, The Whale has been on OurStage practically since the beginning, or how they gracefully incorporate seven instruments and four vocalists into one seamless act. But we think we’ll just let this OurStage Magazine profile, and this Daily Download post and this winner profile do the talking for us. Don’t miss them at 10pm at the Soho Lounge, right before Eilen Jewell.
Muck and the Mires – Nothing like a little Boston garage rock to cleanse the SXSW palate. Catch them hot off the trails of headlining the Dirty Water Festival in London at Skinny’s Ballroom at 10:15pm.
Eilen Jewell – Eilen Jewell is quickly becoming a hot name in the country world. Read her feature on the OurStage Magazine and catch her on the charts, the folk rankings love her! Playing at 11pm at the Soho Lounge.
The Plastics Revolution -The inaugural act for OurStage and MTV Music’s joint partnership Needle In The Haystack, The Plastics Revolution have been bringing powerpop to Mexico City in waves and will soon cross the border to rock the late night crowd at Mi Casa Cantina at midnight.
Friday March 18th
Jesse Thomas – Jesse has racked up more Top 10 wins than the average SXSW goer’s Foursquare check-ins. She’s been featured in OurStage playlists for rock and folk, and her raw, smokey voice and take no prisoners ‘tude even scored her a spot playing side stage to John Mayer in this past summer’s John Mayer “Side Stage Warfare” Competition. Don’t miss her kick ass at 7:30pm at The Ale House.
Lady Lamb the Beekeeper – The effervescent Lady Lamb has been an OurStage fav for a while now, having been chosen as another Needle In The Haystack artist and featured on the OurStage Magazine for her killer touring style and as an Editor Pick for 2010. She even graced us with her presence and rocked the room at OurStage’s first In The Round session at the end of February. See what everyone’s buzzing about at 8pm at Swan Dive.
Blacklisted Individuals – This hip hop duo doesn’t have to travel far to bring their “Working Class Muzik” to SXSW, being born and raised right in Austin. Check out the former OurStage and MTV Music Needle In The Haystack act at 9pm at The Marq.
RAS (Riders Against the Storm) – This husband and wife hip hop duo is both adorable and talented, winning the Lennon Award in the hip hop category in 2008’s John Lennon Songwriting Competition as well as being a finalist in OurStage’s “Get Out Of The Garage” Competition with Converse. Experience the magic at 9:30pm at The Marq.
Other Lives – Another OurStage artist that we’ve been gabbing about since the beginning, scored a free logo design from Alphabet Arm back in 2009. Other Lives cites lofty influences such as Jóhann Jóhannsson and Arvo Pí¤rt, but you’re more likely to hear Beatles and Rufus Wainwright in the execution, which is a sweeter deal in the end. Learn more in their artist feature on the OurStage Mag, where our Editor in Chief also cited them as an playlist pick. Catch them live at 10pm at Maggie Mae’s Rooftop.
Saturday, March 19th
Lelia Broussard – Listen up, people, because Lelia is making some serious waves. Not only is she a contender for Rolling Stone’s Choose The Cover Competition, but the OurStage community loves her rollicking folk rock (as evidenced by her multiple Top 10 wins) and her hilarious videos that are quickly making her a YouTube sensation. Read more on the OurStage Magazine when we profiled her last year, and be sure to check out her set at The Tap Room at Six at 10:45pm, so you can say you saw her when.
When I first sat down to write this blurb introducing you to the magic that is this week’s NITH artist Lady Lamb the Beekeeper, I began by formatting a blog post which she had sent me via email. She had separated every line or two, not writing in traditional paragraph form that we’ve grown so accustomed to here on the OurStage Magazine. About halfway through consolidating her sentences into paragraphs, I stopped myself. Something in her description of her dream worlds and how they inspire her work was so melodic and beautiful that I realized it would have been a shame to lump her poetry all together. Funny how writing can become so second nature for an artist that everything becomes a song. Without further ado, I give you “Artist Takeover” by Lady Lamb. Now if only we might get her to write a tune to it?
“Last night I ate an entire apple pie with a spoon while sitting high up on a ladder.
When I had finished the last bite of the pie, I stepped down the ten or so rungs to the ground and walked to the outdoor stand where I had bought the pie only minutes before. The woman behind the counter was busy wiping crumbs from around a pie she had just sliced and placed on a pink serving plate.
I walked up to her and ordered another. She looked at me as though she was trying to place whether she had just served me a full pie that I had very apparently eaten in the few minutes since returning. She handed me the pink plate and as soon as she did, I woke up.
Coincidentally, today I went out to eat with a friend who mentioned that he was craving pie.
We went to a family bakery. Having felt as though my dream had been vivid enough to have satiated my personal pie craving, I ordered a slice of chocolate cake instead.
Dreams are a main inspiration of mine.
No matter how silly or contrived or terrifying my dreams may be, they are such a massive part of my life.
They tend to carry into my day, and seemingly find their way into my songs.
I’m sure later on when I take out my guitar I will undoubtedly find myself singing about baked apples and ladder rungs.
After all, my attempts to lucid dream three years ago”which coincided with beginning to make music”brought about my moniker; I was keeping a notebook by my bed to semi-consciously scribble parts of my dreams down in the dark.
Roughly three years ago, Lady Lamb the Beekeeper was found scrawled out on a page in sloppy cursive. I put the name to the recordings and went full-force from there.
Whether I’m dreaming of apple pie or airplane crashes, it has become apparent to me that the images and interactions my brain cooks up overnight have been placed there to be embraced.
I once had a dream in which an old friend of mine looked me straight in the eyes as I was making my bed and said, “You know, almond-colored sheets are best for dreaming.’
At that point, I was struggling with having terrible nightmares nearly every night.
I went out and bought a beige colored fitted sheet and (as best I could match) an almond-colored top sheet for my bed.
I’m not asking you to believe in the power of recalling dream-sentences and taking them seriously, but it worked.
Paying attention to my dream world has helped me better understand my real world and served as a way to channel fear and hope and desire into music that I hope is very visual. Dreamily visual.”
After only moments of listening to this week’s Needle In The Haystack artist Lady Lamb the Beekeeper, you come to realize this is not just a frivolous school girl singing about the ideals of love. Lady Lamb (or Aly Spaltro, if you’re going to write her a check) has seen her share of chaos and heartbreak, and it shows through in every way in her music. The powerful vocals and wafting electric guitar on “Between Two Trees” borders on creepy, serving up lines like “The more you give me, the more I love you. The more I love you, the less you give. Are you a predator? Are you a huntress? Are you just a girl? Or are you some sort of bird ” some bird turned lioness? I will bury you between two trees. I will bury you with me” with emotionally-charged, almost shaking vocals. We just worry about the poor guy that crossed her.
Check out the video for “Between Two Trees” and download the track for free below.
This week’s Needle In The Haystack artist Lady Lamb the Beekeeper (aka Aly Spaltro) sings simply because she needs to. A musician born from heartbreak, Aly first began writing songs after dealing with her first “love lost” experience. Song writing satiated her need for self-expression and self-reflection, and when listening to her beautiful lyrics delivered in a hauntingly raw voice, you’re transformed to that dark, dreary Maine winter where this star was born. Aly has said “life is a mess and music is the most beautiful means of communication and self-expression”.
In her OurStage profile, Aly says she “writes about lost, true & unrequited love; nostalgia, nectarine meat & wolf maulings; plum crumb cake & mustard colors; death & Guatemala; airplane rides & airplane crashes; lusting & pining; aubergine & almond-colored bed sheets; balance beams hidden in the woods; desert mountain ranges & european bluffs; dreams & nightmares, and fawns & fawning”. If life truly is a mess, she certainly has found the music in the madness.